A new graphic by the data visualization firm Periscopic shows the 9,595 gun murders in the U.S. in 2010. The life of each person is represented by an arc that tells two stories. The yellow/orange section of the arc--based on data from the FBI's Unified Crime Reports--shows the victim's real timeline, from birth to death. The rest of the arc, shown in gray, represents an alternate version of the story; it shows how long each person might have lived if they had not been murdered. Those alternate, extended lifelines are based on data from the World Health Organization about the age distribution of U.S. deaths.
You can mouse over the arcs for annotations of both the real and alternate versions of each person's lifespan.
To see the full version of the graphic (without scrollbars), go here.
What is this getting at? What story is it trying to tell? What agenda is it pushing?
Facts for the sake of facts?
Then why take the time to make it?
To promote the anti-gun lobby?
Then it's misleading and dishonest because it doesn't account for non-gun related violence. Plenty of countries pride themselves on their anti-gun laws....but have they really done anything to reduce overall violent crimes?
This chart is to incite emotions in people, not promote rational discussion of the issues.
Believe it or not, the news used to be "Just the facts". They didn't push an agenda, they didn't editorialize. They just presented the facts. Just like this article does.
The news SHOULD BE only about facts. If the FACTS get you upset, GOOD. If the FACTS make you want to get up and do something to change it, GOOD!
Presenting PURE FACT is undoubtedly the best possible way to promote rational discussion, despite what the media would have you believe.
This type of reporting is nearly dead, and it's a terrible shame that all anyone can find in any type of news organization is the opinions of others. Others who are not that educated, and ENTIRELY biased toward whichever political party they associate with.
We NEED more factual presentations, so that WE THE PEOPLE can use them to make our OWN DECISIONS. Not those shoved down our throats by Rush Limbaugh, and George Stephanapolus.
It's fun to look at, and easy to sway people with large numbers. How about we do one of these for all the people who die due to alcohol every year (mostly drunk driving), since that number is even higher than gun murders? Or how about we do the 50,000 deaths from second-hand smoking every year?
Yet I don't see lawmakers rushing out to try and ban cigs or booze. Hmmm. And those aren't even Constitutionally protected. Not that I think they should, but why the hypocricy? I mean... if we're trying to save lives, shouldn't we go after those things too?
And let's actually look a little deeper at the data... does having more guns actually relate to the number of gun deaths? Nope! Look at the states with the highest number of guns per capita, like Utah and Wyoming, and notice they are amongst the states with the lowest gun murders or gun crimes per capita. What about Maryland? It has the 5th lowest number of guns per capita, so you'd think that means they'd have few gun murders, right? Not so. In fact, they have the second highest rate of gun murders per capita of any state. These are just examples of how the arguments of "more guns equals more murders" completely fails the statistical test. Anybody going to publish a pretty infographic of that?
Want to know what kinds of factors actually ARE statistical predictors of gun violence? How about being black and living in a big city? Those are the biggest ones, right there.
Scientific discussion of what causes gun violence does not include emotional appeals that cloud the scientific facts. If you're going to keep your name as PopSci, rather than PopPolitics, maybe you ought to consider publishing stories that have more to do with science and statistics and less to do with pretty pictures that distort facts in people's minds.
Well considering that according to the 2010 Census there were 308,745,538 living in the U.S. that year. That's only .003108 of a percent of the population. That's nothing compared to cancer or car accidents.
marcoreid, I was going to say similar statement.
The reason they don't list the Automobile deaths is the page would be a solid color! Then throw in some Impaired driving deaths, and you'd would squash ANY numbers on Gun deaths as well as discount the whole gun control quest. That is the agenda, the people in power wish to disarm the public so that they can control them easier.
These are not facts. There are about 9,595 non suicide related firearm deaths a year. To call them all murders is a LIE. A lie designed to provoke a knee-jerk reaction from uninformed people like @Bagpipes100. Every time a cop shoots a murderer it's a firearms related death. Every time a woman shoots a rapist crawling in her window it's a firearms related death. Every car jacking that's stopped it's a firearms related death. @Bagpipes100 talked about presenting Pure Facts to promote rational discussion, @Bagpipes100 when is the last time you saw a story about a defensive gun use? Where is the graph that shows good guys using guns to kill bad guys? Over a hundred thousand defensive gun use cases a year, and you don't hear about them, how does that promote a rational discussion. Obama invites everyone to the White House to discuss the "gun" problem, not the violence problem but the "gun" problem, and the one group he leaves out. The people that defended themselves against criminals with guns. How's that for a rational discussion @Bagpipes100?
Looking at lost years (as opposed to just lost lives) is quite informative. Stossel had a great show on risk analysis which applied this method (look for "Are we scaring ourselves to death?").
Facts can easily be manipulated by context and presentation. Just because something is a fact does not mean it equates to some kind of causality relationship. Let's look at an example:
Black men are many times more likely to commit a gun murder than any other statistical group. This is a fact. And bad interpretation or lack of context for that fact could easily lead one to believe that if we simply banned black men from the country, our country would see far fewer gun murders. The FACT supports that cause of action and such a course of action might indeed result in decreasing gun murders. But it doesn't make it a morally correct point of view, neither does it account for future changes due to that course of action.
Anyone who uses a fact by itself, without context and serious discussion, to justify any kind of policy is a fool.
There is much truth to what Mark Twain included in his autobiography, speaking of facts or statistics. That there are "Lies - damn lies - and statistics" in that order.
If the "facts" in this infographic move you to action to ban guns, then the facts about people (many times more people) killed by abuses of alcohol and tobacco should really move you to make sure every bottle of spirits and every cigarette is banned too. Otherwise, you are a complete hypocrite.
Oh, and real good reporters didn't just report facts. They reported facts in proper and enlightening context, regardless of how they personally felt about an issue.
Good points, by all. Yes, this data may be delivered as "just the facts", but it clearly had a purpose: to scare people. But as mentioned, if this chart also had other causes of death, gun deaths wouldn't be visible at all.
How about the 32,788 traffic fatalities that occurred in 2010?
Or is that not headline hot button enough for popsci?
My theory proved again...
PICK AN AGENDA Choose a leftist-anti western agenda. Be creative, anything that weakens America will do.
STEP2... YOU GOT FRIENDS
Trust your new friends. Who are they? Well, do you remember all those hippies in the 60's who hated their parents and their country? The ones who threw tantrums at protests, bombed things they didn't like, and never bathed? Well they all got jobs in education, government, politics, entertainment, and news. (they never grew up, they just got old but their herd mentality is still as strong as any peer pressure found in jr. high hallways today.)
Step3... FIND A PROJECT
(Here's the tricky part) Take only a pinch of science. You don't need too much, a little will go a long way. But do not allow any contrary data that may crumble your theory in your batch. Got some bad data in there anyway? Relax, changing or skewing data is ok, remember, you are one of the popular kids now! (see step 2)
Step4... GET STAMP OF APPROVAL
Submit to your new idea to your fellow science community, but this isn't as scary as it sounds. Remember the unbathed protesters? Lucky for you they've spent the last 50 years educating the current science community. So if you truly nailed Step 1, Step 4 is automatic. If needed, a Nobel Prize can easily be arranged.
Step5... LET YOUR FRIENDS KNOW
Let your friends begin their jr. high style network buzz. (it takes a lot of work, these things just don't sell themselves) Here's where it gets fun, the media will begin to chant the brilliance of your new theory. Articles & puff pieces spring up everywhere from Popular Science to People Magazine. It's like magic.
Step6... THEY GOT YOUR BACK
Now remember, all your entertainment, news, & elitist friends have your back. No one will be allowed to say anything negative about your new theory. An endless barrage of eye rolling, scoffing, and gaped mouths await any questioner of your theory, no matter how incorrect it may be, like I said, they got your back. Free-thinking students will be ridiculed by his/her unionized teacher from Head Start to UC Berkley. Your friends are everywhere and can't wait to knock down even the most basis questioner. Facebook, water coolers, news blogs, no place is safe from a "education". They play Whack-A-Thought for you.
Step7... DID WE SAY THEORY?
After most objections have been silenced, education can now proceed to rename your theory "Truth". Teachers, professors, and science fans can now drop any reference to "theory" from here on out. Congratulations!
STEP 8... ENJOY IT WHILE YOU CAN
Your theories will now be a bedrock for other agenda driven works, new theories based on your theories will build and build. But inevitably your agenda-based theory will find itself so far off reasonable thought and scientific truth, it will quietly be put out to pasture like all the others. Look at the popular theories of the early 17th, 18th, 19th, & 20th centuries, most were extremely popular and extremely wrong. In generations to come, early 21st century scientists will be the joke of their successors, they will mock us, "you taught your children that we evolved from monkeys and that we somehow caused the warming and cooling of the earth??"
Don't lose hope though, Academia will stubbornly continue to teach it decades past it's death and science always has a way of overlooking it's failures. Fotobum
Popular Science has become so obnoxious with their political agendas, that I created an online account just to post here that I've unsubscribed from the RSS feed, and the magazine. I hope someone else agrees. This used to be a great place to read about new technology and not somebody's biased political opinion.
Goodbye, I will miss most of you PopSci.
All your points would be legitimate if ALL the facts were presented. As it is only the fraction of facts that with drawn from the context of the larger picture would only help people think in one particular way about the whole picture.
They biasedly pick out their facts here and pretend it is just "reporting the facts".
Could you go back and read what I wrote? My point was to show that that graph is a dishonest smear against guns. Getting rid of guns could only be assumed to be a solution if it would lower total violence. If it only reduces gun violence, but knife or bomb violence increases to replace it it would be a waste of time.
We're on the same side of the debate.
How many were self defense? How many were shot by Police to defend others?
@Teotwawki I've found it's not good to ask too many questions here, her goal of passing on slanted information has already been accomplished.
As we are grabbing our foreheads & shaking our heads, they're already copy & pasting their next articles.
This all about getting an emotional response not a rational one. Isn't it about time to bring back the science in Popular Science??
Sorry Bagpipes100, my rage was aimed at seatellite, and I pasted the wrong name it, woops!
Poopsci will NEVER stop these biased propaganda articles until they start seeing their bottom line fall through the floor. With that said, I have one word. Boycott.
Ok a few more words: It would be a good start to post comments only when you feel an absolute necessity. The many responses they get to all these propaganda articles only empowers them to do more of them, regardless if our comments are for or against. A good rule of thumb we should all try to follow is to post comments on real science only and ignore this political garbage.
I know... I should follow my own advice... but this one, I feel, fell under the 'necessity' category I mentioned above.
Today's magic is tomorrow's technology.
So, we should stop looking at crazy white dudes with 'assault' rifles and look at young black men with handguns. (I know that these stats are the stats of the murder victims, but they also reflect the reality of the assailant as well)
There is a cancer in our society that won't be cured by trying to fix the symptoms. The fix needs to start in the community and in the home, not in the state capital or D.C. A lot of this is related to gang violence. The average life expectancy of a gang member is 20 years and 5 months. People don't join gangs because their future is bright and they have a great home life.
In short, it's not about the guns, it's about the society that the guns are in.
These facts are from the CDC. You can find them by using a search engine and using terms "cdc leading causes of death", since popsci doesn't let us post urls.
Number of deaths for leading causes of death (2011)
Heart disease: 597,689
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
Alzheimer's disease: 83,494
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364
I suggest we solve Heart Disease first, followed by Cancer. Then let's keep working down the list. Tell me when we finally get down to a cause of death that only affects 9,595 people per year.
It's an interesting and very well done graph. It would be interesting to see a similar graph relecting the number of massacres that have occured in the US following the nearly nationwide lifting of "carry" restrictions that began around 1987.
While I see the points being made as to other causes of death claiming far more lives in America than gun violence, lets be honest with ourselves and realize there is no deflecting this debate on firearms towards solving America's obsession with cholesterol or smoking. Rather than continuing to attempt to divert attention to other weapons, lets put more focus on ensuring that statistics related to firearm violence are honestly and accurately provided in an unbiased way.
In my opinion, this presentation of the data is relatively conclusion-free, fairly complete, and comes about as close as I've seen to providing clean data so that thinking individuals who cant (or are too lazy to) spare the time to dig through the FBI databases can draw rational, informed conclusions. I think many of you are used to PopSci and other media outlets releasing terribly slanted statistical breakdowns that you're jumping the gun (hah) a bit with this infographic; take a deep breath, step back, and objectively look at the information being presented. This is not the statistical hack job you're used to seeing.
To be honest, if you look past the fluff about 'stolen years' I quite like this presentation of the data, with one exception that many of you have pointed out. I would have liked to see an option to partition out justifiable homicide; this would have been easy to do as this number is tabulated in the source being used to generate this graph.
I should point out though that suicides deaths by firearms are not included in this data set as some of you have suggested; suicide is not considered a homicide, and generally is not tracked by the FBI. Firearm death numbers are FAR FAR higher when suicide is considered, but that is a topic that is only marginally related. Those numbers would be founds in the CDC databases, not FBI.
One thing I like very much about this graph is inclusion of the proportions of firearm homicide by firearm class, and also the single/multiple victim statistic. These are both VERY relevant to the current debate on firearms regulation and the currently proposed 'Assault Weapons" Bans (AWBs)and magazine capacity restrictions. These are seldom referenced numbers that are very telling as to how effective we can expect current legislation to be in addressing firearm related homicide in America, which is to say that it really wont.
The numbers on single vs. multiple victim homicides invalidate the assumption that magazine capacity bans will appreciably affect firearm homicide in America. The prevalence of handgun use in homicide raises serious questions as to the reasons behind the current focus on assault rifles. I am very happy to see these numbers brought to the forefront rather than being buried.
The only theory that I see the 21st century mocking us for is the experiment of the United States of America. The only reason that people think of liberals as 'anti-American' is because Americans are so stuck in the past that they refuse to see the need to change. You claim the left is indoctrinating the populous but in America, the right is far, far worse for that. The right surpresses progress in the name of protecting the American way of manifest destiny.
America is a joke to the rest of the world. Even your liberals are crazy right-wing fanatics. I guess the rest of the world is just too polite to tell you you're all nuts.
Also, to include more decontextualized statistics into this discussion. There was recently a knife attack in a chinese school. 24 injured, 0 dead. Now take Sandy Hook. 26 dead, 2(?) injured. I don't care if you claim if knife attacks will rise if we take away your God-given guns (a little joke around these parts), at least with a knife attacker they can't kill me from accross the room like a American....I mean coward.
Unfortunately, the statistic quoted for "2010 US gun murders" does not appear to differentiate between legitimate, lethal use of firearms for self-defense and outright criminal acts involving guns. It would also have been nice to see the percentage of the total quoted that involved one criminal assaulting another criminal (such as someone robbing a drug dealer).
Now obviously, thanks to the creators amazing intellectual integrity, we will soon be treated to an info-graph showing all the lives cut short during the Holocaust, where half a dozen NAZI members could round up a synagogue-worth of Jews at time.
And an infograph of the Midnight Murders in Russia; the gulags, as even as much as a third of cities at a time where kidnapped and sent to work camps, one by one, because no one had the means to resist these evil men, even a handful at a time.
And one of the tens of millions killed during the Red China conversion - again innocents without guns unable to defend themselves from tyrannical government.
Yessir, I have no doubt we will soon have an infograph showing the potential lives of the some 150 million lives lost through midnight murders, forced starvations, work/death camps, and all the other blood-soaked killing fields brought about by socialist utopias over the last half century. All those lives lost because the people were not permitted to have guns, and forced to trust their safety to a government... that eventually deemed them undesirable for the greater good.
Wait... you say the creator is as much a partisan hack as the website that linked it? Oh.
I guess those 150 million dead had it coming anyway. Bastards.
I, like so many other subscribers here, have grown incredibly tired of this terrible advocacy journalism. I am perfectly capable of making my own decision on a political issue. I am less capable of understanding the inner workings of the Large Hadron Collider and that is the hole that PopularScience is supposed to fill. We want science not politics! We’ve had enough about Global Warming, Gun Control, Endangered Species, Immigration, and the War in the Middle East or any of the major political issues of the day. We can get that information elsewhere. If you bother reading any of the comments on these articles you would realize just how bad it is getting. Nearly all of the comments on this article are complaints on how bad things have become for PopularSCcience! Please go back to the science, the bionic arms, space flight, and grass growing technologies, anything! Just stop with these awful politically charged articles!
There is no evidence that shows guns cause violence at all, or at least not that has ever been presented in this nation wide discussion.
People are right to deflect the heat off guns to show that the argument against guns is invalid. Its misleading, and dishonest.
There is a problem with violence. But guns are not the only tools used for those ends. Taking away one tool will not prevent the use of another.
Root cause analysis. Guns aren't at the root, they are just used along the way.
Nice unbiased reporting, NOT.
A quick Google search for Emily Elert will bring you to her website. It's not very hard to determine which side of the "gun debate" she is on after reading her About page...
"I'm a writer and freelance science journalist based in Brooklyn, New York.
Other current professional descriptions include: Assistant Editor, Special Projects, Discover Magazine; And: Fact-Checker, Popular Science.
Previously, I worked with Climate Central on a book about climate change.
My stories have appeared in Discover and Popular Science, and online at Scientific American, OnEarth, and Scienceline. For an (outdated at the moment) list of clips with links, click here. Or here for my resume."
You yanks should be collectively ashamed of yourselves.